Friday, 20 March 2015

0232 Iguazu Falls

0232 20th March  Iguazu  F
                                                         S !!!!!

Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow.

Definitely a 5 Wow day today !  Not only were the Falls themselves just amazing, but the whole thing was laid out really well, all the basic things you needed to see were free, and they had lots of restaurants with all sorts of different empanadas – Yup, I did Iguazu Falls powered by empanadas !  And it was GREAT !!!


Arriving at the camp site last night I had met young Australian couple Ash and Steph who had also just arrived in Iguazu, so I took them to the Falls with me in Troopie.  It was about 10 am by the time we got there and was pretty much a clear blue sky, so we were expecting a really hot day.  After stocking up on water at the entrance, we paid our 260 pesos entrance fee (about $25, which I thought was very reasonable, but you can get two days entrance for that if you want), and we headed into the park.  After walking through to the Cataract Railway Station, Ash and Steph headed off to do the Upper and Lower walks around the more easterly falls, while I decided to catch the little train for a 10 minute ride round to th walkway out to the Garganta del Diablo Falls.   At this stage we didn’t really know what was what, so we just headed off to see as much as we could, with a plan to meet up later for a bite to eat.

In the train station, the little coatis come up and wander through the people.  They seem very friendly and tame, but of course they are wild animals and if they get upset they have sharp claws and teeth, and, as evidenced by frequent graphic posters, can inflicts some nasty wounds.  But they are cute though – Except to some American guys who wandered past muttering “Who would want to take a photo of a goddammed raccoon ?” !!  Ah well – Maybe everyone else doesn’t have raccoons at home, Sir !!  A few minutes later the little train came in to the station, and we all piled on board for the 10 minute ride around the rim of the falls.

When we arrived, we kind of followed the herd, and ended up on a metal walkway out over the water, not really knowing where we were going – Presumably to see some of the falls ?  At this stage we haven’t seen a waterfall, and don’t really know what to expect.   It is at least a 10-15 minute walk out into the middle of the Rio Iguazu, and after about 5 minutes we realise the people passing us on their way back are not only grinning like cheshire cats, but most of them are also soaking wet from head to toe !!  As we get closer, we start to see clouds of spray floating up into the air, and then we start to hear this thunderous roar that gets louder and louder as we walk on.  I even saw our Argentinian friends from the campsite, Javier and Romina, and the boys Thiago and Joaquin, walking back – Wet, and with big grins on their faces !

Suddenly our first real view of any waterfall is this amazing sight of the enormous Rio Iguazu seeming to just disappear into an enormous hole in the ground !  Garganta del Diablo is aptly named, because this just looks like everything is just being sucked right on down to hell !  Staggering.

Another couple of minutes walk and we
are suddenly faced with our first sight of the Falls – And what a sight it is.  At the end of the walkway, you are right out in the middle of an enormous circle of the most massive falls you can imagine, with water pouring into a massive void tha is totally hidden in the massive spray that blows up on a self induced wind caused by the water movement.  The only part of the circle that has no waterfall is straight ahead of you, where the river
flows on, but there is so much spray that you cannot see ahead – So you just appear to be totally surrounded by the most massive waterfalls you can imagine – They even flow UNDER you, under the walkway.  How they built the walkway I do not know, and I don’t really care – I just stood there mesmerized for probably an hour, although it seemed much longer !  just look at the pics and you will understand a little of what I mean – words are totally inadequate.

Eventually, soaked to the skin like everyone else, and now wearing that same big grin that I had seen on everyone else’s face previously, I tore myself away, and headed slowly back along the walkway, stopping to watch butterflies as they landed everywhere on people and railings, and watching enormous catfish (well, they had whiskers !) – 3-4 feet long – as they swam idly below they catwalk.  What a place.

When I got back to dry land, I celebrated with a couple of very nice empanadas, watch hoards of butterflies soaking up the moisture need a water tap, and after being chased by coatis who wanted my empanadas, I rode the little train back to the main station.  And the nice thing was that so far it hadn’t been too hot – A lot of the places are shaded by trees, so it was turning out to be quite bearable weatherwise.

Just as I was about to go and explore the other two main walks, I hear my name called, and it is Ash and Steph, who have just finished the walks.  So we sit and rest awhile in the shade, and I tell them they HAVE to go and do the Garganta walk, and they tell me I HAVE to go and do the other two walks, especially the lower one !!  So we split up again, and go off in different directions.  I did the upper walk first, and that too is amazing in its own way as it stretches all along
the top of the more easterly falls. (The Garganta del Diablo falls are the bigger main one, but to the east are 7 other major falls, plus numerous other smaller ones).  So as you walk along the walkways, you are often looking at vast bodies of water just disappearing into space – Quite an earie feeling.   At one point you can look down and way below see the people on the lower walk, and they appear to be almost under the falls ! You can also see come of the boats with big powerful outboard motors that take people willing to get REALLY wet almost up under the falls themselves ! I guess that walk took me about 45 minutes, and was most enjoyable and give one a much better idea of just how extensive these falls really are.

Then it was off to the lower walkways.  And a third and totally different way of experiencing this amazing Wonder of the World.   This walk takes you down to river level, so you are looking up at the falls from below – And it is just so different.  And very wet !  And you also get to see the boats trying to get under the falls – But they never can – Even with their big engines running flat out, the sheer volume of water coming off the falls quickly stops their forward motion and they get pushed back out down the river, only for them to try a second time – I think just to make sure all the passengers get properly soaked !!

And at the end of the walkway, you are almost right under the Salto Bossetti, and it is just amazing – And very wet !   And all the time, even in the spray, the butterflies are flitting around and landing everywhere, including on you !

After the lower walk, I slowly made my way back towards the entrance where I had agreed to meet Ash and Steph later, but I had only been there for about 10 minutes when they arrived too.  Like me, they were exhausted from all the walking, and after 1 pm the heat really had started to build up, so we were all pretty well “done” and in need of a dip in the swimming pool at the camp site.   So we left and made our way back into town, stopping at the supermarket for some supplies and a big piece of streak for bbqing, although we weren’t sure how it would work out !

After a lovely cool swim in the pool and a couple of cold beers, we bbq’d the meat – And it was delicious !!  First big piece of meat I have had since Christmas in Australia !!  Then it was off to bed with the plan being to go to an Animal Refuge Park in the morning.


More pics are here :-


  1. WOW! What a great day. Giles! So glad that is was all you had hoped for and more!

  2. I remember well my 2000 trip there. Visited from both the Argentinian side as well as Brazil. With the latter I did the boat trip to the foot of the falls. The walkways look the same. Did you notice the little black birds that nest behind the falls? Was great to see them fly in and out of the spray and water. Don't recall the train bit - may have been a later addition. Only had a film camera at the time so did not capture enough of the splendor.